UPDATE!

The good folks at The Hemp Farmacy have found a crowdfunding platform — Fundly — willing to host farmer Brad Adams’ fundraiser.

Click here to donate online now.

If you prefer to send a donation directly via snail mail, or if you’d like to send Adams a note of encouragement, his mailing address can be found in the box below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Hemp Farmacy (@thehempfarmacy) on

When we talked to Brad Adams he was taking a break from his roofing job. That’s not what he expected to be doing this month.

The first-time farmer’s plan for October was to harvest four acres of hemp he has, for the most part, hand-tended since May.

Each of his 4,800 hemp plants were tended with care, he says. Plants he spent roughly $40,000 to buy.

Adams says he sold his 2008 Ford Explorer and cashed in retirement savings to afford the Cherry-Wine strain clones.

Send Brad Adams a letter of support, check or money order:
Brad Adams, 1401 Avenel Dr., Wilmington, N.C. 28411
Did Florence affect your hemp farm?
We want to tell your story. Contact us.
But now there isn’t anything to harvest. Adams’ farm, in Kelly, N.C., was destroyed by Hurricane Florence in mid-September. He’s not sure the plants are even salvageable as bio mass.
“It might be salvageable,” says Adams, “but I don’t know if it’s worth the labor to go cut it down.” Before the hurricane he employed three farm hands, he says.

“It looks like a total loss,” he says.

Adams tried to recoup his losses via a GoFundMe campaign, but the fundraising platform shut the page down within two hours of its posting.

No Crop Insurance Available

Insurance companies don’t consider hemp a commodity thanks to federal law, says N.C. Industrial Hemp Association executive director Blake Butler. That means there is no such thing as crop insurance for hemp crops.

“That’s the answer I’ve been given by insurance companies,” says Butler, “No crop insurance whatsoever for hemp crops under a state pilot program.”

Still, Adams says, he’d like to continue hemp farming if he can recoup his losses.

He says his actual loss was closer $50,000, and that doesn’t include his time – the farm is a two-hour round trip from his home, he says.

He doesn’t consider it all wasted time, though, he says, since he learned a lot this year.

“We all went into this knowing the risks,” says Butler.

GoFundMe? Nope.

Hoping to help a farmer out, the owners of The Hemp Farmacy location in Fayetteville, Tiffany and Ray Toler, started a GoFundMe campaign for Adams on Thurs., Oct. 4, 2018.

Within two hours the fundraiser brought in nearly $1,500 of its $10,000 goal with Hempleton, franchiser of The Hemp Farmacy stores, donating $500 itself.

However, while we were on the phone with Adams for this story the page disappeared.

He thought it might be because the The Hemp Farmacy’s Instagram post and the GoFundMe campaign listed the wrong amount as his expenses; he was expecting them to edit the page.

Within a few hours, however, GoFundMe had refunded all of the donations made to help Adams’ farm recover from Hurricane Florence.

“They usually do shutdown campaigns that have anything to do with cannabis,” says Butler of the NCIHA, “But why this one was taken down, I have no idea.”

GoFundMe did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

But a spokesperson for Indiegogo did respond when we asked how their crowdfunding platform would have handled the situation.

Despite explaining that, per the 2014 Farm Act and North Carolina law, Adams’ farm is legal, all the Indiegogo spokesperson would say is, “Indiegogo allows campaigns that comply with relevant state and federal laws.”

“Is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?” we asked in response.

“Indiegogo allows campaigns that comply with relevant state and federal laws,” the spokesperson repeated again and again, eventually noting that Carolina Cannabis News was to refer to him as “spokesperson” and not by his name.

The N.C. Dept. of Agriculture confirmed that Adams is indeed a licensed hemp farmer with the state’s hemp pilot program.

Farmer’s Assistance Fund?

“We’ve talked about creating a Farmer’s Assistance Fund,” says Butler of the N.C. Industrial Hemp Association.

Next month the organization will hold its annual meeting where he says he will push for the creation of an assistance fund.

Adams isn’t the only hemp farmer hurting following Hurricane Florence.

“Some farmers east of Raleigh lost 30 percent of their crop,” says Butler.

He says many farmers tried to harvest early but “couldn’t get it harvested fast enough.” As was everyone on the coast, farm workers were also scrambling to evacuate ahead of the storm’s landfall.

Butler says October is the organization’s membership drive, a time for the NCIHA’s own fundraising.

At the November meeting, Butler says he plans to propose that a portion of the membership dues be set aside to create the bailout fund.

“We all have to admit that we’re going to have a lot of Eastern North Carolina farmers growing large acreage, and that mother nature can wreak havoc,” Butler says.

He says the NCIHA hopes to have completed a full assessment of the hurricane damage to hemp farms within 30 days.

It’s anticipated the industry group’s report will build upon the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture’s report which is expected in a couple weeks, per Phil Wilson, a spokesperson for the department.

Carolina Cannabis News has also heard of million-plus dollar hemp-farm losses. We are following those leads and will report back when we know more.

Hurricane Florence wasn’t Adams’ only foe

Adams says he decided to leave his mechanic job at a Ford dealership to pursue hemp farming because “the return on it seemed to be promising.”

The first-time farmer was farming on a 1,500-acre property he owns. He says his four-acre hemp crop was located about a mile from the Cape Fear River which flooded and was inundated with pollutants from various sources.

“I never thought rain would be such a bad thing,” says Adams.

Normally, he says, “Everybody’s like ‘we need some rain, we need some rain.’ That is the worst thing we can have, though, because we have irrigation. For hemp farming it’s better to have consistency.”

Image: Hurricane Florence before the storm made landfall. Credit: NASA.

Adams says he also fertilizes his plants through his irrigation system. At times, he says, he would have to spend an hour per day patching holes that mice had eaten into the system’s lines to access the water. The leaks they caused, he said, could have created puddles of water or fertilizer that would have damaged the plants.

“The plants will literally drown if you leave them like that,” he says.

Adams says he also fought off fire ants. “They will destroy your crops, too,” he says.

“I would have to go on ant patrol in my four-wheeler every time it rained looking for fire ants. Once, I didn’t catch them for a few days and they killed about 15 plants, all in a row, ” he says. “They get in the beds and eat the roots”

“Then we had a dry spell,” says Adams. That’s when worms and caterpillars took over. “We had to spray an organic pesticide every day for three weeks straight. We even tried trapping them with yellow sticky pads and everything.

Then there was the fungus that affected many outdoor North Carolina hemp farms this season.

“I was in the field every day,” says Adams.

When he heard that Hurricane Florence was coming, he says, “We harvested some, but then it got moldy.”

The wind knocked the plants on the ground, he says, then the following flood destroyed the entire crop.

“We’d like to be able to plant hemp again next year,” says Adams, “That’s why we started the GoFundMe campaign, to recoup some of the money so we could do it next year.”

Stay tuned: If GoFundMe allows the campaign site to return we will alert you.
BY Rhiannon Fionn

BY Rhiannon Fionn

Editor & Publisher

Rhiannon Fionn is an award-winning journalist based in Charlotte, N.C.